Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids for Seniors?

Medicare does not cover all medical services including vision care, dental care and hearing aids. Learn more about what types of coverage are available and how you can get help paying for hearing aids.

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids for Seniors?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers people age 65 or older, as well as younger people with disabilities or serious illnesses. However, Medicare doesn't cover all the costs of medical services, which is where the rules get complicated. It may cover a doctor-ordered hearing test or treatment for a hearing related medical condition, but Medicare will not pay for hearing improvement devices or tests that fit them. You are responsible for 100 percent of these costs.

Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids or hearing aid fitting exams. You pay 100% of the cost of hearing aids and exams.In other words, you can't go to a hearing clinic without a referral and expect Medicare to pay for it. This plan is a healthcare option managed by a private insurance company with a Medicare contract. The Advantage plan generally includes coverage for all parts of Medicare.

In some cases, the private insurer may pay for hearing tests. You should check with your plan provider if you have Part C coverage. If you also have supplemental coverage not related to Part C, you should check with your provider again.When Medicare was enacted into law in 1965, it didn't include any coverage for hearing aids. They were considered “routinely necessary and low-cost,” and most Americans didn't live long enough to actually need them.

Even though costs are now high and the need is great, Medicare still doesn't cover hearing aids.Unfortunately, Original Medicare doesn't cover the cost of hearing aids or their maintenance. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you're out of luck. Some Medicare Advantage providers offer plans with coverage for hearing aids, which can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.In addition, at that time, many older people did not live as long as today, so fewer people had age-related hearing loss. For example, Humana, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield offer at least one Medicare Advantage plan with coverage for hearing aids.Medicare Part B does cover hearing tests that your doctor recommends to diagnose a hearing condition.

However, the person included in the policy is still responsible for paying 20% of the cost. There is currently no coverage available for hearing aids with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). However, there are Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) that do cover the cost of hearing aids.A supplemental plan will cover diagnostic hearing exams if your doctor orders the tests as part of your treatment plan. People who attend a hearing exam in the hospital's outpatient department will be required to pay a copayment directly to the health care provider.

For those who have dual enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid, hearing aids are covered through Medicaid in 28 states.Some of these may bear part of the cost, but be careful, as some may follow Medicare rules and deny the claim, since the test is related to the sale of a hearing aid, which is specifically excluded from Medicare. The total price usually includes the hearing aids, a consultation, initial fitting and any follow-up appointments for the included model.Over the years, many organizations and legislators have tried to update Medicare to cover the costs of vision, hearing and dental services for seniors. Both Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans can also pay for hearing tests, depending on the policy.Unfortunately, when it comes to vision, dental and hearing care, traditional Medicare doesn't offer much coverage for older adults. If you don't have coverage, wait for a Medicare Advantage enrollment period, and then switch to a plan that offers hearing aid coverage in your state if you decide it's right for you.A law passed in 2017 by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), allows people to purchase certain types of hearing aids without a prescription without prior approval from a health care provider.

However, these devices can significantly improve the quality of life of people with hearing problems.It disgusts me that a system that is supposedly set up to help the elderly does not provide the basic needs of older people such as dental, vision and hearing. Learn more about the link between heart disease and hearing loss. There are steps you can take now to improve your heart health through cardiovascular fitness and minimize the risk of hearing damage. Rarely, a person can hear the pulse which is known as pulsatile tinnitus.

Requires immediate medical attention to make sure there is nothing serious going on.

Brittney Weekly
Brittney Weekly

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